There are two things most of us want it life: balance and happiness. They often come hand in hand, but they are also very hard to achieve. It often feels like the stars have to align. This little trick we will show you today, is based on a book – where else do the best ideas come from? – so do look it up if you really want to get stuck into it. We will be looking at Level 10 life, a rather simple way of breaking down the big, sometimes scary, topics of “life”.
Happiness is not something you can measure, but satisfaction is a little easier to put on a scale of one to ten. So that is exactly what we are going to do. This is where you need to take a deep breath, and possibly a pen, paper, and some colourful pens or highlighters. This technique will give you a breakdown of your life, and some of it may not be easy to accept, but it will help you improve.
Building a Level 10 life journal
First of all, it is about trying to define specific areas of your life. The obvious ones are work, relationships (both friends and couple-life should be considered), finances, health; but it really is up to you. You could include religion, skills, marriage (see above), mental health, family, and any other area which is important to you. Feel free to jot down an initial list now. I personally chose as many as I needed, you do not need ten.
The next step is to look more closely at these areas you identified and think about some goals, so you can define where you are and where – ultimately – you would like to be. Make sure you include some short and medium term goals as well. Of course, you can develop these further a little later.
Now let’s take an inventory of your life: Where do you feel you stand in each of these areas?
Think of it as ten being complete satisfaction and give each area a number. Some may not be easy to admit, but the first step to improving it is to be aware of it. If you are more of a visual person or just don’t like having to put it in numbers, create a bar chart and colour in the bar to your satisfaction.
You can work on the presentation over time to make it something you enjoy going back to.
Why follow the Level 10 plan?
Now that you have identified your starting point, you can develop in each area. The goal is to eventually reach level 10 in all your chosen areas and having defined individual goals will help you get there.
It also helps to see where you are not satisfied and where some unhappiness may be coming from. It can be easier to see if a relationship is not going well or even identify the strain of constant financial problems. Look at where you are the least satisfied and see if you can start on some of the short term goals in this area.
How you apply this in your every day life is up to you.
I have found three versions of the plan I find useful:
- A goals list: it helps to break down your goals. If you are stuck in a certain job, it doesn’t mean you can’t work on other things. I am in a location which doesn’t allow for a lot of contact in person with my friends, who are in other parts of the country. In the meantime however, I can join a gym and work on the health aspect of my life or train for a half-marathon, which may be in another area you may have down as “hobbies”.
- A life-line: you can use it to refer back to, and regularly colour in a little further, as you move towards your goals. If you achieve one, you may find you want to define new goals.
- A regular health check: a life plan may seem daunting, or maybe even unrealistic. Some of you will be sat here reading this thinking but what if things change? I could be happily married now and divorce – can I erase what I coloured in? Level 10 life is only an idea which you can adapt. You could make a blank chart, with only the topics and the scale from one to ten, and photocopy it. Once a month, or as regularly as you like, colour it in according to how you feel at the time. Take time to think about each one, and then reflect on what you want to focus on improving. Then next time, fill out a fresh sheet and see if it got better.